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WWE Hall of Fame

On January 9th, World Wrestling Entertainment (or WWE, formerly WWF) held the Royal Rumble. This 30-man battle royal determined who will wrestle in the main event at Wrestlemania in just seven weeks. Wrestlemania is WWE’s Christmas, New Year’s and birthday all rolled into one. It’s the biggest event of the year and a spectacle it’s hard to describe unless you see it for yourself.

The night before Wrestlemania, WWE holds its annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Every year, WWE inducts roughly seven or eight new entrants. This may seem like a lot, but they usually have two big names, a tag team, a female, a less popular person from an ethnic minority, a manager, a behind the scenes worker and someone going into the celebrity wing. The celebrity wing is how the likes of Drew Carey, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the current President of the United States end up in the Hall.

WWE just announced the first inductee into the class of 2017. It’s Kurt Angle. For those of you who don’t know, Kurt Angle is the only bona fide Olympic Gold Medalist to ever compete in the WWE. Now, there are plenty of good reasons why Kurt Angle should go into the Hall of Fame; but there are reasons I’m surprised he is. His WWE career was impressive; he racked up a lot of accolades and he’s one of the most entertaining performers I’ve seen. On the other hand, he’s had some legal issues. They include, DUIs, reckless driving, and accusations of stalking an ex-girlfriend that required a legal agreement for the two not to interact. Not the most heinous of crimes, and forgivable.

What I find it harder to believe they forgave, is what he’s been doing for the past ten years. Angle received early release from his WWE contract, claiming he needed time off to heal. He promptly went to work for WWE’s competitors, TNA, and worked there the next ten years. He’s already in the TNA Hall of Fame and will be the first person to be inducted into both Hall of Fames. WWE has not always been so kind to perceived slights.

80s star“Superfly” Jimmy Snuka died recently at age 73. WWE aired numerous tributes to the wrestling legend. The thing is, he had recently been charged with third degree murder. He never stood trial because he was judged unfit just 12 days before his death. WWE flirted with bad publicity in celebrating the man’s life. Luckily for them, the media did not pick up on the story.

Some things are unforgivable. On June 25, 2007 wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife, and his 7-year old son were found dead in his home. Learning the news, WWE called off its live show and aired a tribute show to Benoit. Sometime during that show word began to come out that the incident was being investigated as a murder suicide. WWE was left airing the show. When WWE aired its next scheduled show, Vince McMahon (who at the time was supposed to be dead in storyline) gave a heartfelt apology and vowed Benoit’s name would not be mentioned again. He meant it. WWE began systematically erasing Benoit from their history. Old shows were chopped up to remove him. Needless to say, his merchandise never appeared again. Recently, however, with the advent of WWE’s own network and the need for streamed content, WWE has begun showing old Benoit footage with a disclaimer. Benoit will never go in the Hall of Fame.

Speaking for myself, I’m satisfied with that. Chris Benoit was one of my favorite wrestlers at the time of his death. I was hit pretty hard. But it seemed unfair to wipe him off the map. Especially when medical experts have speculated that post-concussion syndrome brought about by Benoit’s wrestling career (in WWE, World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling) could have caused his actions. Benoit himself claimed he had lost track of the number of concussions he had suffered. I’ve heard at least one wrestler (Montel Vontavious Porter, aka MVP) claim Benoit had shown strange symptoms, like losing track of where he was while in the ring. Wrestling may have been what caused this tragedy and, to their credit, WWE have gone to great lengths to reduce the risk of concussion in their matches and non-match segments (aka angles) since. I still own a Chris Benoit shirt. I would never wear it, but I can’t bring myself to throw it away. I try to hold on to the good memories, even with the dark cloud over them. Perhaps WWE is trying to do the same thing.

Royal Rumble

I think it is pretty obvious that WWE has screwed the pooch with this year’s Royal Rumble. What’s the main attraction of the Royal Rumble? Anyone can see that it is the Royal Rumble match!

Yet here we sit, a week from the event and I’m not sure they’ve announced even half the people in it. Who have they announced? Dave Batista, a man I’ve never been impressed with, who has finally decided to come back because, apparently, it’s not so easy to become a movie star. And beyond him? Alberto Del Rio, a man who has fallen so low down the card he jobbed to Sin Cara about a month ago. Then you throw in Kofi Kingston, a man who nobody thinks has a shot, yet they muddy the waters by giving him a win over the champion. Who does that help? Is Kingston going to become number one contender? Not with “Captain Ego”, Brock Lesnar in line first even after Superman Cena.  Right now there is not one credible person in the Rumble other than Batista, and if you go into the match knowing who is going to win then what’s the point? Other entries include CM Punk, Rey Mysterio, and Roman Reigns.

What else does the Rumble have? Well, we’ve got John Cena versus Randy Orton in a rematch of one of the most historic matches in fifty years, the unification of the WWE and the World Heavyweight championships. And there is Big Show versus Brock Lesnar. With the launch of the WWE Network just about a month away, WWE needs to be bring their A+ game more than ever. They unified the titles a month early. They’ve paid barely any attention to the Royal Rumble match and they’ve let Brock Lesnar just crown himself the next #1 contender. The Royal Rumble is going to decide one half of the main event at Wrestlemania. There’s only one champion left for the winner to challenge. Turning it into a throwaway match is just like throwing away money.

I was watching NXT about a month ago, if my research is right it was the 200th episode. The NXT Tag Team champions, a title I hold in slightly higher prestige than the TNA Knockouts Tag Titles, known as The Ascension, had issues an open challenge to any tag team in the world. They were answered by The American… Pitbulls? Here are some highlights.

The Wolves

Now any Ring of Honor fan, or fan of indie or Japanese wrestling knows The American Wolves. Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards have been as famous as you can get without working for TNA or WWE for years now. Which means, of course, once they come to WWE they must be “repackaged.” I’ve never understood why WWE has come to believe every wrestler they hire needs a new name, a new gimmick and near whitewash of their history. I can understand WWE not wanting to acknowledge TNA. TNA at least passes for a vague shadowy ghost of a spectra of a wisp of a challenge to them. But Ring of Honor?

WWE uses RoH as much as a development territory as they do NXT. Where do you think CM Punk came from? Why was CM Punk the last guy they let keep his name? Punk got over in WWE by being the same guy he got over as in the indies and RoH. Bryan Danielson and Daniel Bryan are all but the same and Bryan became Superstar of the Year as voted by the fans. Even worse the pair became Derek Billington (Richards) and John Cahill (Edwards). WWE changed their names and, of course, came up with what my Irish friend Conor could only describe as “shite names.” However that is not the worst news of this story. WWE let the Wolves go. Rather than signing one of the best teams of the modern day, they let them go to TNA. It’s maddening for me to learn this. What’s even more upsetting is I may have to start watching TNA again just to see them.

Hey everyone, sorry for the slowing down of updates lately, but we’ve had some Internet connection issues we’ll we have been traveling. Things should stabilize soon (…hopefully). In the meantime, here is an all new Pit!

After a pretty epic Wrestlemania match, Edge shocked WWE fans by retiring. Taken out of the game by a reoccurring injury that has been getting worse with every match. The fan favorite has had a pretty awesome career and if he is being forced to retire, at least it is after an impressive last match.  Hopefully he stays with company and on camera as a GM or announcer. But there are a ton of roles he could ultimately take on, including as a trainer, road agent, manager, etc. Whatever he decides to do, we wish him all the best and thank him for years of entertainment!

Scream 4 came out this past weekend and I can’t express how happy I am to have a horror movie that is not torture porn in theaters. I’m a big fan of the series and Ghostface, and to see them on the big screen after so many years just felt great. Big props to Wes Craven, Kevin Williamson and everyone involved for delivering an entertaining thrill ride. Finally, a worthy end to the series.

Out of all of Neil Gaiman’s works, American Gods wouldn’t by my first choice to get adapted for TV, but regardless it is on its way to becoming a fantasy series for HBO. Gaiman is working with Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson to bring the series to life. Sadly, there is no new word about a Sandman series coming at us anytime soon. Maybe if Gods does well enough?

After taking American Wedding off, Chris Klein will be returning for the next theatrical American Pie flick, American Reunion. He joins Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Eugene Levy and Alyson Hannigan, who have all signed on to return. The franchise has been releasing a steady stream of American Pie Presents… titles straight to DVD, but this is the first sequel to go the theater route since Wedding in 2003. I can’t wait to see the gang get back together.

Want to impress clients with your production office, then Install hardwood floor and make them remember you!

Flashback: March 28, 2010. My Hollywood Dream posted a guest column of predictions for Wrestlemania XXVI. Little did anyone know what that column would become. Let’s see what’s changed since then, shall we?

First off, Batista was in one of the main event matches last year. He’s since retired, perhaps for good. Also defending a world championship was Chris Jericho, now off dancing with stars. Shawn Michaels lost a retirement match that night and has kept to his word and not wrestled since unlike my icon Ric Flair. Triple H made one of his last appearances until just recently when he faced Sheamus. These days Sheamus is lucky to have a midcard title and his last encounter with HHH left him humiliated. The streak is on the line once again as HHH gets a second chance nobody wants to mention is a second chance.

Remember when Bret Hart was back on TV? I do. I saw him win the United States Championship live and I would never have thought I’d be able to say that.

CM Punk has gone from the Straight Edged Society to the New Nexus to facing Randy Orton alone at Wrestlemania tonight. Edge is a champion, instead of a challenger. Heck, a year ago Alberto Del Rio didn’t exist he was still Dos Caras Jr. And nobody dreamed Mistico would sign with WWE and change his name to Sin Cara. Cody Rhodes was in a triple threat with Randy Orton and Ted Dibiase Jr. And everyone thought Dibiase had more upside. Now Ted’s not even getting on TV while Cody has a red hot feud with Rey Mysterio to settle in one-on-one action.

We still had a Money In The Bank match last year. We had no Rock, no Austin, no Snooki and Jerry Lawler had still never wrestled at Wrestlemania. The Miz was in a tag team with The Big Show. Now The Miz is in the main event and Show is in an eight-man tag along with a comedy duo and an awkward, face turning, Kane. Kane didn’t have that bad a year though as he held the World Heavyweight Championship for a decent run and got several victories over The Undertaker. Last year Vickie Guererro was actually wrestling. At least that’s improved.

But enough about last year. On to Wrestlemania XXVII and my live blog recap!

6:59 still short two guests.

7:00 We’re on with Kari Hilson singing America the Beautiful.

7:03 Rock time.

7:07 we get the preliminaries out of The Way and The Rock speaks.

7:13 I fall behind as guest #3 arrives. Justin and Mitchell are now here and only Nicole is expected. She’s stuck at a family gathering for now. Rock draws a “Fruity Pebbles” chant.

7:17 Justin “If he were to face it up any more he would kiss a baby.”

7:18 Rock gets all his catchphrases out and gets the crowd fired up then takes off while a video starts.

Mitchell “It’s a small African country’s budget worth of pyro for the opening.

Alberto Del Rio, who won the Royal Rumble, gets stuck in the opening slot. Christian is out for the match too. $1000, Bentley and the huge screens show us his estate. There’s Brodus Clay too.

Edge’s taped arm is, of course, the early target. Mania level bumps are coming early.

Mitchell “Oh Brodus Clay, you are too ugly for Wrestlemania.”

Justin gets in the first “Shut up Cole!” of the night.

Action on the outside between Christian and Brodus Clay.

Nicole arrives.

Edge hits a Spear and actually wins. Edge winning at Mania? I’m stunned. Edge tries to beat up a Rolls Royce. Normally one would use a weapon for this. So here’s Christian with a tire iron and a lead pipe.

Cody Rhodes is up next. Mysterio is in Captain America gear. Someone I forgot was coming shows up.

Mitchell “Nerve pinch is a sign of a bad match.”

We talk tsunami.

Rhodes survives the 619. Rey steals Cody’s mask. But it’s not enough as Cody Rhodes wins using the knee braces as a weapon. I’m 0-2 on predictions so far.

Snoop Dog and Teddy Long. Bad talent competition to get lower card people and Roddy Piper on the show. HORNSWOGGLE RAPS! Real words! Wow! That was worth part of the price of the show.

8-man tag time. The Corres versus Kane, Big Show, Santino and Kozlov. Except Kozlov is still out from the previous beating so Kofi Kingston takes his place. Better! It’s very short and Heath Slater takes a Cobra and Big Show punch and the faces win and I finally get one right.

Rock and Eve. Mae Young! Austin!

Time for Punk/Orton. And it’s just a great match. Orton is really selling the leg. Ring Psychology is a rare thing now. Orton’s knee gives out on the punt, the Punk just escapes an RKO. Then Punk attempts a high flying move and Orton RKOs him out of midair.

Rock is with Mean Gene. And John Cena’s #1 fan is coming to confront Rock. It’s Pee Wee Herman. But Rock convinces him to change sides.

Hall of Fame introduction by Howard Finkel. Abdullah the Butcher is Canadian. HBK overshadows all the rest. Sunny looks great.

Now Cole and Lawler are up. Booker T and Jim Ross take their places on commentary. We get a lot of action on the outside before the match officially wins. Swaggerr interference lets Cole actually get in offence. An-Cole lock doesn’t win it and, when Jerry turns it around Swagger tries to throw in the towel. Swagger ends up with a Stunner instead. Fist Drop by Lawlwer but he breaks his own pin at two. Instead of a Piledriver Lawler put on an Ankle Lock of his own. Cole taps immediately but Austin makes a long show of confirming he wants to quit before ringing the bell. Swagger carries Cole away as Austin and Lawler drink in the ring. Booker joins them for a Spin-a-roonie only to get a Stunner for his trouble. But the RAW GM thinks the referee went too far and DQs Lawler retroactively. In a clear case if shooting the messenger Josh Matthews also eats a Stunner just for delivering the news.

HHH and Undertaker comes before Snooki? Hunter enters to Metallica’s For Whom The Bell Tolls and has a phalanx of legionnaires in front of him.

Mitchell “He can turn water into mist! He’s a wizard!”

Undertaker’s entrance has no druids or flash but still takes 4:17. JR and the King are back together again calling the match. They wreck the Cole Mine. Falcon Dive by Undertaker! Nota good looking one though. There goes the Spanish Announce Desk as Taker is slammed through it.

Mitchell “Man, these guys are wrestling like they only do it once a year.”

This is underwhelming so far. It’s like spot then a nap before another spot. HHH survives a Chokeslam, Taker kicks out of a Pedigree. Now Hunter kicks out of a Last Ride as well. Then he kicks out of a Tombstone Piledriver. Hunter gets a reversal and DDTs Taker on a chair. A second Pedigree doesn’t get the job done. Not even a third can do it. Hunter tries a steel chair. Even a chair shot to the head. They almost never allow that. Triple H even steals the Tombstone but it’s still not enough to stop Taker. Sledgehammer time! But before he can use it Taker counters with Hell’s Gate. Trips struggles for a long time. He almost manages to use the sledgehammer but loses it as his strength fades. In the end he feebly taps out and the streak reaches 19-0. That would have been good if a little of the filler had been trimmed out. Taker collapses after the match. It takes a stretcher buggy to get him out.

Snooki match is up. When will we see Daniel Bryan and Sheamus? Trish does most of the work. Morrison is never legal and Snooki amazes with the two moves she does before getting the pin.

I guess Bryan and Sheamus was a dark match because next The Miz gets an amazing entrance video. But Cena gets an all-black gospel choir. He also has a new red shirt. The early match is another series of spots with no story. Miz escapes an STF, Cena avoids a Skull Crushing Finale. The ref gets knocked out, Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment, but Riley hits Cena with a briefcase. Cena survives the return of the ref yet Miz also kicks out of a second AA. Both men spill over the barrier on the outside and we end up with a double countout. It’s all an excuse to bring in The Rock. Rock blows off the E-GM and restarts the match with no DQs and no countouts. But Cena gets Rock Bottomed and Miz wins the match and retains. Wow my predictions sucked. Miz doesn’t escape Rock’s wrath either. He ends up taking a People’s Elbow and Wrestlemania ends with The Rock on the turnbuckle raising an arm for the crowd.

I can’t say I’m really pleased with this. Everybody worked hard but the most spectacular moves were by Snooki and one dive by The Undertaker. Rock and Austin were little more than nostalgia acts and some matches went too long and some too short. Stacked up against other Wrestlemanias this one looks to be sub-par.

So that’s it. It’s been a fun year but a lot has changed in my life and recapping wrestling is more than I have time to do. I’ll still be watching. But I want to be able to just watch, and on my own schedule, not trying to see it ASAP to get these columns written. I know few people read this but I know, for some, it’s their only source of WWE information. And you know something? Once you accept that the Attitude era is dead and gone and we’re living in the PG-era now WWE programming is worth watching these days. With summer reruns about to descend like locusts it’s a good time to check out shows that run all year. Heck, you might even try giving TNA a chance. Or watch NXT on the web. I think Superstars is on there too. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll recap a PPV or send a note about something interesting every once in a while. I hope everyone continues to read the other fine articles at My Hollywood Dream. I could also do the occasional movie review. And who knows? The next time I find myself between jobs I may be right back here smarking out.

It’s been a pleasure taking this year-long ride with you. Goodnight and goodwrestling!

Posted on April 4th, 2011 by David Creighton | Leave a Comment (2)
Filed Under Entertainment

The WWE is teaming up with THQ for a wrestling game that even I can get excited about (I stopped watching wrestling while it was still the WWF). “Legends of Wrestlemania” is coming to the Playstation 3 and X-Box 360, and lets players “relive, rewrite, and redefine the greatest moments in WWE history.”

Read on for more details and a teaser trailer for the game.

Read the rest of this entry »